A solid effort all around helped the Bruins to their sixth win this season against the Sabres.
The top forwards came to play again, putting the Bruins up early in the game and then finishing the game strong. David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith each registered two points.
Krejci and Taylor Hall exploded with opportunities and their efforts came to fruition. Charlie Coyle was also rewarded for his strong performance, netting his first goal in 28 games.
Tuukka Rask made 29 saves in the team’s victory.
The Bruins opened the scoring at 1:16 of the first period.
After a neutral zone turnover, Marchand gained entry into the offensive zone. He found Patrice Bergeron inside the blue line who then fed the puck to David Pastrnak skating into the left face-off circle for a one-timer over Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s blocker. 1-0 Bruins.
The Bruins had control of all three zones for the better half of the first. The top lines had nice cycling and puck possession in the offensive zone while the fourth line brought the physicality.
But the Bruins gave the Sabres some breathing room midway through the period. The Bruins eased up in the defensive zone, giving chances to them down the middle. Rask did make some nice glove saves, but the Sabres put enough pressure on the Bs to break through and tie the game.
The Sabres answered back at 14:09 of the first period.
After Kevan Miller failed to get the puck out of the zone, Casey Mittelstadt found Rasmus Ristolainen’s rebound which came right out to him at Rask’s right for a wide-open goal. 1-1 tie game.
The Bruins beat the buzzer and netted a POWER-PLAY GOAL to regain the lead at 15:59 of the first period.
Charlie McAvoy found Krejci inside the left-wing circle for a one-timer which hit the short post and bounced off Luukkonen’s back and into the net. 2-1 Bruins.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres 13-11 in the first period. Bergeron’s line accounted for five of those shots, while eight came from defensemen.
The Sabres had their fair share of chances to tie the game early in the second period. They had some nice rushes and caught the Bruins looking sloppy clearing the puck.
The Bruins did clean up their play as the period progressed and had a few chances on the power play. Hall probably had the best look on the man-advantage with a set-up from Krejci. Krejci and Hall kept pressure on Luukkonen, and Krejci’s line had five shots on him during the second.
Rask kept it a one-goal game, coming up big with a bunch of glove saves and stopping Rasmus Dahlin on a breakaway out of the box.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres 15-11 in the middle frame and headed to the locker room still up 2-1 after two periods.
The Sabres tied the game at 1:43 of the third period.
Victor Olofsson poked the puck loose behind the net and got it out front to Sam Reinhart for a quick one-timer in the slot over Rask’s glove. 2-2 tie game.
But the Bruins then exploded for the remainder of the game, with a boost of confidence off Coyle’s goal to regain the lead.
The Bruins took the lead at 7:58 of the third period as Coyle found the back of the net for the first time in 28 games.
Coyle took the puck away from Reinhart in the neutral zone and beat both defenders down the middle to put a wrister over Luukkonen’s glove. 3-2 Bruins.
The Bs controlled the game’s tempo after the goal and won puck battles where they needed to and drove shots to the net.
The Bruins added an insurance goal at 16:43 of the third period. Krejci and Hall did it once again with such a filthy, beautiful goal. Krejci’s stick work was straight fire to get the puck over to Hall for a quick one-timer past Luukkonen. 4-2 Bruins.
Marchand added a lengthy empty-net goal at 18:26 of the third period to make the final 5-2 score.
The Bs outshot the Sabres 40-31 overall and FINALLY scored on the power play after what feels like forever.
The Bruins are back in action Saturday at 1 pm for their final game of the season against the Sabres.